Friday, September 24, 2010

PFB2010 Challenge #2: Quintessential Chile

Fact: This Chilean flag? Stolen. Ask me about it.

Voting has started! CLICK HERE to vote for me!

I may have mentioned that I studied abroad in Chile for six months. I may have also mentioned that Chilean food, overall, is lacking. My opinion may have been colored by the fact that one time I ordered Chinese food from a Chinese-owned restaurant and received ramen noodles in my Chow Mein. It may have also been colored by the fact that cheddar cheese was extremely difficult to find, and shelf-stable milk grosses me out (I paid for overpriced soy milk instead). I might have been freaked out by the amount of cream used in soups, lard in my bread, and the mass quantities of fried food. I might have also been utterly devastated by the Nestle-saturated ice cream and chocolate market to the point where I paid $8 for a pint of Häagen-Dazs and nearly cried when my mom sent me a handpicked pound of See's Candies. I might have been going through one of my pickier food phases...

Looking back at it, my food experience in Chile was not as dire as I made it out to be at the time. Sure, I had to learn to adjust to life without peanut butter (until my mom sent me some) and fresh milk, but I ate a ton of brie on the cheap; scarfed mass amounts of mango, cherimoya and strawberries (the tiny ones!); fed on all sorts of fresh vegetables; and managed to consume a hefty amount of unfried seafood. Living in a house with a variety of other international students, house meals also provided me with a taste of French, German, Spanish, Ecuadorian and Mexican cuisines. Plus I got to travel and really learn about a beautiful country. I think I was being a tad bit dramatic, no?


There are two things about the Chilean culinary experience that still really stick out for me: empanadas and alcohol. The quintessential Chilean empanada is de pino, filled with chunks of seasoned beef, onions, olives, hard-boiled egg and raisins, and then baked. They are the true representation of Chilean heritage—empanadas being a Spanish creation, and pino being distinctive to the indigenous Mapuche people. My first taste of this comfort food was at the courtyard bodega located on the grounds of La Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile--a place I would return again and again, sitting down for an empanada lunch with my cohorts. It is this empanada I tried to recreate, and surprisingly enough, came close to duplicating (even if I still can't roll dough into a circle, making them a bit lopsided). And though the hard-boiled egg sounds odd, once baked, its creaminess contrasts nicely with the texture of the beef and the sweetness of the raisins.

While Chile is also well known for its oft-imbibed wine (including in a box—their boxed wine is good!), it is most memorable for its Pisco—a brandy-like liquor. Pisco taught me to like hard liquor. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it prepared me for the amount of drink needed to survive Law School. It wasn’t uncommon to be served a large glass of pisco with a small bottle of Coke on the side. Nor was it uncommon to stumble over your tongue while you drunkenly told the cab driver that you lived at Echenique y Tobalaba (yeah, try saying that while drunk in your second language). But more often than not, pisco graced my lips in the form of the national drink, the Pisco Sour. So in addition to making a first attempt at empandas de pino, I decided to also make a first attempt at creating this cocktail. Trust me when I say that, due to some home construction, the cocktail was much needed.


Psst. This is my second entry for Project Food Blog. Thank you so much for voting me through! My ego loves you, but my family wishes I'd just shut up already. Voting starts on Monday, September 27th. Click on one of those floating icons to the right if you'd like to be kept in the voting loop.




Empanadas de Pino

1/2 lb. beef
2 medium brown onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. black pepper
salt to taste
vegetable or canola oil
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
10 olives, diced
1/4 cup raisins

5 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup of milk
1 water

1. Dice up your meat into small pieces. You can use pretty much any cut of beef (I used tri-tip), and if need be, a lean ground beef will work.

2. Heat oil in a pan and add onions. Saute until translucent. Add garlic, beef and seasonings.

3. Cook until beef is browned on all sides. Add salt to taste. Remove and let cool to room temperature.

Quintessential Me: makeshift onion goggles--put on glasses,
wrap saran around to ears, & seal out onion vapors.

4. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in vegetable shortening. Then mix in your milk.

5. Gradually add water until dough comes together and is not too sticky to touch.

6. Knead on a floured surface for a few minutes. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes. In the meantime, boil your eggs and preheat the oven to 350F.

7. When dough is ready, separate into 12 balls. Roll each ball out into a disc about 6"-7" wide, and 1/4" thick.

8. Add olives & raisins to filling. Then place a heaping tablespoon of the filling on the bottom half of the disc, leaving room around the edges. Add a few pieces of egg and then seal the empanada. Pinch well, or use a fork, and then fold up the sides.



9. Repeat with all of the filling and dough balls, being careful to seal the empanadas extremely well.

10. Brush each empanada with an egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tbsp. water), then poke a hole into the top of each one.

11. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.








Un Pisco Sour

2.5 oz Pisco (or brandy)
1 oz lime juice
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1/2 Tbsp. egg whites*
dash of bitters
ice

Shake Shake Shake

*Use pasteurized eggs, or just omit.








Recipes obtained and tweaked via conversations with friends from & in Chile.

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Also, I'd like to introduce you to my mascot, Tort(e). Tort(e) is a potholder puppet with a terrycloth tongue and button eyes. Tort(e) enjoys wearing dog hair, keeping my hand from burning, and is getting ready to host a cooking video for yours truly.


66 comments:

FOODalogue said...

My culinary experience in Chile (2 visits) was very good. Perhaps it's the difference between a student's budget and a tourist's. The empanadas look great -- and I loved the tip for cutting onions.

Hope to see you in Round 3.

sara @ CaffeIna said...

I loved loved loved this post! Wonderful pictures! Now I need to make them myself! I didn't know anything about Chilean cuisine. Although I know a lot about Pisco from my Peruvian fellows in school :) And nice to meet Tort(e)! Looking forward to see him in action!

Chow and Chatter said...

awesome post

tastesbetterwithfriends said...

I actually had my first empanada last week and when I bit into it, I was surprised to find the hard-boiled egg! Add Chile to my list of places to vist:) wonderful post, story and pictures!
good luck to you and Tort(e)!

A Thought For Food said...

YES YES YES! Have I told you how much I love pisco sours? LOVE THEM! And they really do pair wonderfully with a big bowl of chili!

Isabelle said...

Great entry. Love the empanadas, love the pisco sour, love the photos, love love love.
BTW, I've been dying to see Chile someday, and your photos have convinced me that I really ought to go there sooner rather than later. Such a beautiful place!
I'm going to go drown my sorrows with a Pisco sour now (or two.. or ten... sigh)

Shelly Borrell said...

Thanks for sharing! Great photos and post :) You're on top of things. I better get writing. Good luck!!

Shelly, Nibbles of Tidbits

kristin @ delishliving said...

this is really wonderful. i think you've written and photographed a beautiful post for this challenge. good luck!

The Cilantropist said...

Ah yes, it does look fantastic. :) I don't think I told you before, but my when my friend returned from Chile she made us all Pisco Sours and I LOVED them! (maybe a little too much!) Awesome post my friend, and say hello to Tort(e) for me.

Monet said...

What a beautiful post! I loved hearing about your experience in Chile...it is evident that you put a lot of care and thought into this post. I will certainly vote for you on Monday...I'm excited we're still in the competition! And your empanadas look out of this world sweet girl!

Classic Kitchen Twist said...

Looks great and I love the onion goggles!

saltyseattle said...

Your words have every expat nodding in agreement. I used to smuggle boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese into Italy- ITALY- of all places- only to feel closer to home. It's funny how you look back in retrospect and realize cheddar cheese isn't really that important after all, but when you can't find it, damnit, it's all you want. Oh, and I can relate to the drinking too:)

Jun Belen said...

There is a Chilean empanada vendor here in the cit, not sure if you;ve heard of them, Chile Lindo that we love. Filipinos have empanadas, too -- something we share with Chileans, Argentinians and the rest of Latin America. I loved the egg inside!

Jan/Thella @ I Love. Therefore, I Cook. said...

oh boy, you remind me of our local empanadas and make me crave for one. i wish i could go to Chile myself but for now, i'm having fun as your post transports me there.

+1 vote from me.

Viva Chile! :P

Angie's Recipes said...

Empanadas look so tasty! Never tried the Pisco Sour before....sounds very interesting!

Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels said...

I loved reading about your experience in Chili, what a great post! The empanadas look sooo good, you did a great job on them. And your pictures are wonderful. Great job on the 2nd challenge and congrats on making it to the 2nd round!! :)

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

Congratulations! Let's hope we both advance to the next round of #PFB2010!

Sommer J said...

Your culinary adventures in Chile resembles many expats living in Germany! Great read. The empanadas looks so delicious. I've always wanted to make some, and now I shall. The crust looks flaky and melt in your mouth good. I must try these.

Kath said...

Beautiful photographs! And your empanadas look wonderful.

michelle @ The Domestic Mama and The Village Cook said...

Oooo- thank you ever so for this post!!! I am going to make it for when my hubby comes home tomorrow! (I will let ya know how they come out!) The pics were outstanding- you did an awesome job. You got my vote when it's time!!!!

Casey Angelova said...

I too when the Chilean route for round 2, but I chose Cazuela. http://www.caseyangelova.com/2010/09/chilean-cazuela-project-food-blog.html I am jealous of your time spent in Chile. I had a very similar experience in France when I was rather picky and needed Mom to send some essentials (peanut butter) from home! Best of luck with PFB!

Lawyer Loves Lunch said...

Hah, you'd get my vote for tort(e) alone but man, those empanadas look great. The one time I attempted to make them, the darn filling kept falling out. Yours look so perfect! Definitely voting for ya! :)

baking.serendipity said...

I'm always upset that I didn't get a chance to study abroad. I feel like there's a whole lot I've missed out on. Your pictures are awesome and I love this recipe!

Kim - Liv Life said...

Your empenadas look fantastic... perfect ingredients. The Pisco Sour looks tempting as well! I will have to see if I can find the proper ingredient. Loved those goggles!

Noelle said...

Oh my GOODNESS!!!!! This is probably one of my favorite Chilean dishes!! I saw my grandmother make these and I learned how to make them like she did. You DID SUCH AN AMAZING job!!!! I want you to send me one ASAP! Thank you for the heads up on such a great post. I hope you get to the next round!

Jean said...

Nicely done--I'm there when someone mentions empanada but I loved the story that came with it, as usual. Pisco sour is new to me but if you and the Cilantropist say it's good, I think I'd better give it a try. Count on my vote and thanks for your help with the "turning" of the dough. :-)

Chef Dennis said...

your empanada looks incredible...what a wonderful job you did with these....I can only imagine how good they must have tasted, especially with that cocktail you made...of course after a few of those cocktails I would have been talking to that little hand puppet....lol

megan said...

wow it looks incredible! I've never had chilean food before - very creative!

bonnielu said...

Oh yum! Empanadas are my weakness! How well did those onion goggles work? Sending a vote your way come Monday!

Eileen said...

The empanadas looks great, but do we have use raisins in the filling - lol! Well, I could manage the raisins if I had one of those lovely cocktails to wash them down... Good luck!

maybelle's mom said...

i think the pictures came out so great--and I love the entry. great job.

A SPICY PERSPECTIVE said...

Hilarious! I've had a few overseas eating adventures where I had to check my attitude a couple times. The empanadas look incredible...and I like your puppet. ;)

Rachael said...

Empanadas! Love the raisins - that sweet, salty combo is always so delicious. I also enjoyed reading about your exchange experiences; I just took a job in Bolivia, and am looking forward to exploring all of South America.
Good luck in the competition!

Sippity Sup said...

My experience with Chilean food was not nearly this spectacular. You should go there and teach classes! GREG

Winnie said...

I love your photos and the recipes look so interesting and delicious. Great job on this one!

Katie@Cozydelicious said...

Wow, these sound amazing! I love the combo of meat and egg and olives and raisins. I have never been to Chile, but your photos and your empenadas make me want to go! Yum! You totally have my vote!

onlinepastrychef said...

I am asking you about the stolen flag. Please respond:) Loved the story & the recipes--great post!!

And good luck to Tort(e) in his role as video host:)

roxan said...

Omg! I'm so jealous... I wish I could spend 6 months in south america. Your empanadas look delicious! I miss eating them every day while i was in arg. mmmm

The Duo Dishes said...

We made these once! Without the egg though. Maybe we should try it again and go all the way. Will we ever see your face or will it always be Tort? :)

sophia said...

So...when in Chile...stick to Pisco and empanadas. Got it! Impressive that you made everything from scratch! They look perfect.

Ben said...

No cheddar cheese? What a dump!!! Never been to Chile, but have plenty of Argentine friends who are more than happy to speak ill of them.

Love the empanadas, btw. Meat pie is the best pie.

Butter said...

I absolutely LOVE empanadas and was introduced to Pisco just this year! Delicious. Great entry and sooo very happy to see you on round, although I didn't doubt that for a minute. So happy to see the onion glasses too ha-ha!

Victoria K. said...

Oh yum!! Looks so good :)

jacobskitchen said...

Those empanadas look perfect!You got my vote!

You can check out my PFB post at : http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/864

Stephanie @ Per l'Amore del Cibo said...

Your empanadas look seriously amazing...lopsided or not. What a great story, too! Congrats on making it though the first round, and you (and tort(e))have my vote again this time around!

Torviewtoronto said...

yummy

City Share said...

The empanadas look fabulous. Best of luck in Project Food Blog.

Savory Sweet Living said...

I love empanadas, and yours look delicious! Beautiful pictures and great post. You got my vote, good luck!

Amanda (The Culinary Passport) said...

You have totally made me want to go to Chile! Great post.

riceandwheat said...

YAY FOR TORT(E) and also, YAY for empanadas and Pisco sours! Nathan and I were in Chile for a short trip a couple years ago, so your post is totally bringing back some good memories. I loved grabbing empanadas from those little shops and then going to a bar with outdoor tables and imbibing many many Escudos. And you're right - shelf-stable milk is not right. Not right at all. Vote heading your way, my dear!

Food o' del Mundo said...

Gorgeous post, your empanadas have my vote! Hope to see you in round three!

Magic of Spice said...

Excellent post...love it :)

Lauren Zabaneh said...

You've got my vote sister...only if I can have one of those sour drink thingys and a puppet;)

Stay-At-Home-Chef said...

Great post! Although I hold you responsible for my current craving for Un Pisco Sour ;)

Jason Phelps said...

Love how you paired a drink with the dish. Somehow it breathes more life into it. Great pictures. Good luck in round 2.

Jason

danasfoodforthought said...

Wow, those empanadas look delicious, and everything goes down better with a tasty cocktail to wash it down! Good luck in round 2!

And BTW Tort(e) is too cute LOL

Daily Spud said...

I was supposed to go to Chile earlier this year but the trip was cancelled due to a pesky earthquake. At least now I can console myself with your empanadas and pisco sours, which will no doubt make me feel much better. Especially the pisco sours...

Megan said...

Make shift onion goggles.... hehe lol... love it and love the post. awesome recipe! My husband goes down every year for a month and always brings me back yummy wine... but I am going to have to ask him why he never brought me back some of these. Stolen flag? -

Amelia PS said...

great meal!
I voted you (see my post here: http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/869)

Nate@HouseofAnnie said...

Voted.

Great job! I love the onion glasses.

fortheloveofyum said...

I went to Italy when I was younger and thought the Italian food was better in America, probably because my group and I just ate at the most random places!

Your empanadas look amazing! Your saranwrapped "goggles" really cracked me up. ;)

Good Luck with Project Food Blog!

Ed said...

I chose empanadas as well, but I chose Argentina as my country. You have my vote! If you get a chance, please check out my entry at http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/1047

doggybloggy said...

I thought I voted but I guess I didnt - you get my vote and my tweet - good luck...

Amy L said...

Voted. Although, I'm still open to baked goods if you want to send them to Jersey.
Your humor makes the story come to life and I love the way you collage photos. Great job!

stephchows said...

isn't it funny how a situation can be so dire... and so not when you look back on it! I love that you went back and tried their cuisine again!! And I'm so glad you agree bagels are ethnic :D voted for you!

girlichef said...

What an amazing party! Seriously fabulous post =)

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